Last week, in volume 1, I wrote about Logan Verrett, who shows all signs of being major league ready.  And Matt Bowman, who is flying through the system.

Today, in this tour of the Mets arms factory, we move on to Tyler Pill, our 2011 fourth round draftee out of Cal Fullerton. 

Before getting into the pitcher’s nonessentials - you know, ERA, wins and losses, and the like, let's get right down to it, folks.  This pitching dude can hit!  In a league where the DH is used almost exclusively, pitchers get few chances with the stick in their hands. Tyler made the most of those rare opportunities.

He went 8 for 19 with not a single strikeout. Not one. With 2 doubles and a homer, to boot.  In a baseball generation where we look at possible trade bats and it seems so many strike out a ton.  I watched a few Youtube shots, and he’s got a sweet lefty swing and quick bat.

So, is his prowess with the bat a fluke?  Nope.  His 2014 bat work is no accident - he had a slash of approx. .340/.420/.490 in close to 400 plate appearances in his final two years in college, while alternating between pitching and position play.  Picture those situations where the bench is spent and the manager needs a pinch hitter, or an extra inning game where a versatile pitcher could play outfield for a few innings. A more useful guy to have around than your typical pitcher who hits like your grandmother (nah, she hit better than most of those pitcher types).

On a more serious note, pitching-wise, Tyler has done well.  He is not a Thor-like flame thrower, apparently topping out in the low 90s, but Tyler comes off a fine 2014 season in Binghamton where he DID NOT LOSE ANY OF HIS LAST 19 STARTS.  NINETEEN, FOLKS.  Somebody does that in Queens, he’d get a tickertape parade.  He also features a solid change and breaking ball.

That sort of a run during a season is a classic reason I do not like to just look at full season stats, because he started the 2014 season losing his first 5 starts - which I will speculate is due largely to his having missed all but April in 2013 with an injury.  So after his 5th start, he went 10-0 including the playoffs, ERA in the low 3’s, and a strikeout an inning with excellent control.  Can’t ask for much more than that.

In his career to date, he is 20-11, 3.53, 1.22 WHIP, a very solid 256 Ks in 270 innings, and a commendably low level of homers surrendered (just 17 so far in his career).

So, compared to Logan Verrett (drafted one round earlier than Tyler), Tyler is cut from similar cloth, but Logan has been essentially injury free, while Tyler missed most of 2013, so Tyler is on a very similar path, but trailing Verrett (and Bowman).

Is he big league ready?  Perhaps not, due to his largely lost 2013 season, but a season in AAA and my take is he certainly will be. 

So once he is ready, what will he be?  I’d say a starter very similar to Dillon Gee – or a 7th inning pen guy – and a great pinch hitter.

Of course, he faces a hugely crowded pitching rotation.  I listed Logan Verrett the other day as currently the Mets’ 10th option for their 5 man rotation.  I’d say that makes Tyler #11.  Or more likely 12th, slotting in behind Matt Bowman.

So maybe Tyler gets traded to a team that needs pitching and could use a solid 4-5 starter soon.  And preferably in the NL so he can utilize the bat and hit.  A superior pitcher’s bat like his could win a team an extra game or perhaps two over the course of a season.

In another time, back when the Mets had crappy farm systems, he’d be a top 10 prospect and perhaps its top minor league pitching prospect.  Not these days, but I expect Tyler to have a decent big league career.

What say you, dear reader?


Mack Ade said...

Pill has always been a particular favorite of mine.

Like you said, master of nothing but very good at everything.

Also, could easily be a pinch hitter at any level.

As for the Mets, I guess his future will top out in Vegas and then, who knows. Does anyone want all these work horses? Does other organizations have this kind of SP4-5 talent in their system?

Thomas Brennan said...

Man, I can't imagine any team having anywhere near the # of potential 4/5 arms that the Mets do in their system.

I think some team would want Tyler in the NL as a # 5, because of his hitting bonus. I definitely see him in AAA most or all of next year, and then...who knows? A trade, perhaps.

Maybe he'll start for the Mets someday, despite the current logjam...strange things happen in this game.

Kevin S said...

Micah Owings of the Diamondbacks was a hell of a hitter from 2007-2012. Not nearly as good of a pitcher, but he stuck around because of his bat, often pinch hitting in games he wasn't starting. Pill seems to fit the same bill.

Time will tell.

Thomas Brennan said...

I totally agree, Kevin. Especially in a day and age where a team needs to carry 12 pitchers, having one who could REALLY pinch hit is a real plus.

I remember a few guys who pinch hit a lot as pitchers. Gary Peters of the White Sox. He hit .222 in 875 career plate appearances, with 19 homers and 102 RBIs. Seems he pinch hit over 100 times.

Earl Wilson hit .195 and had 35 homers and 111 RBIs in 740 at bats.

Ken Brett with homers in 4 straight starts (and .262 lifetime) and Tony Cloninger's 9 RBIs in a single game are other great pitchers as hitters memories. I love pitchers who can really hit - a feather in Jake deGrom's hat.

Anonymous said...

It may be time to consider looking for a solid #5 internally and trade away a gem for a gem. I want to see the Beast rotation as much as the next fan, but if the Mets could have 4 Beasts and an above average #5, I might go for it if a Wheeler or Thor might bring back a Russell or Lindor. That path would open the 5th spot to any number of pitchers like Gee, Niese, Verrett, Mazzoni, Pill or even a player who might come back in return for trading the Vets like Gee, Colon, Niese or Murphy. While I would love to have a beast every 5th day, I could live with a very solid or above average #5 if it returned the stud SS or OF prospect in return. When (and not if) the Mets finally get to the post season, they are not going to have room to run out all of the beasts, so what they really need is a beast 1-4 and a really good #5
Anon Joe F

Hobie said...

Can't mentally finish the phrase "PH'ing pitchers" without conjuring up a vision of Don Newcomb.

His 1955 slash: .359/.395/..632/1.127 in 117 AB, at least 23 as a PH. 7 HR & 23 RBI that year.

But my favorite Newk stat is that he was ejected 14 times in his 10-year career...8 for bench jockeying

Thomas Brennan said...

Hey Joe F
I cannot disagree with you. If I could get a superior offensive talent for one of the studs, I would...there are many guys coming up from behind that would be suitable #4's or #5's. Like I said in an earlier edition, if some teams had a Verrett or a Bowman, they'd give them a good hard look for their 2015 rotation.

Thomas Brennan said...

Hobie - those #'s of Newcomb's are out of sight, reminding me of Drysdale's 1965 season, where he got up 130 times, and hit .300 with 7 homers and a .508 slug %. Think that bat helped him win 23 that year?

Don didn't get ejected - he just hit them all with pitches! 154 HBP.

Funny to look at his stats in this Tommy John era - he started 40 or more games in a season 5 times, with 4 more where he started at least 36 games.

Hobie said...


Gotta tell this Newcomb story. I was at Ebbets one night in 1955 (vs. St. Louis, I think) when Newk went 4/5 in a laugher. He conked a HR over the RF screen and then the next inning, bashed a pitch THROUGH the screen for a G.R. double.

Thomas Brennan said...

Wow, Hobie - that's wild.
Speaking of bashing, I went on Youtube and saw something labeled baseball's longest homers (at least those it had film for). It started at 470 feet, and escalated to the last one at 540! At 525 feet, which had to be estimated, was Darryl's blast off the roof in Montreal.

Kingman had one listed at 530, I think - on a windy day, he hit one out of Wrigley, across the street, and 3 doors down.

Hobie said...

Longest HR I ever saw in person: Joe Adcock cleared the left-CF light tower at Ebbets. Probably landed in Williamsburg.

And one that will never get mentioned. Was sitting down the LF line at the Polo Grounds (SF at NYM), lower level, 2nd row about 4 seats from the pole. Willie Mays hit a shot that caromed off the under0side of the upper deck right above (& came down a few seats away...closest I ever came to a HR ball).

Now the upper deck sloped up & back so that ball must have been still rising when it hit 300 ft from HP.

Thomas Brennan said...

Poor guys whose tape measure shots were either not filmed or film retained. Willie's shot sounds like Agee's upper decker in Shea, a garantuan shot back earky in the magical year of 1969..

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